WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — Field of Dreams? More like a field of nightmares for athletes who play on Gilroy Field at McCarren Park.
This is a community park in one of the hottest communities in the city.
But based on the aesthetics of the fields, some would say otherwise.
The playing area is often waterlogged and muddy. Huge patches of grass are missing from areas throughout the park.
“You have to hope there’s not a small hole that you accidentally run into and tear a ligament in your ankle,” Adrian Franco said.
Franco is manager of Gibson softball team, which is in the Williamsburg Softball League.
Wednesday evening, we found members of the League doing their own raking at the city-owned park, trying to get it to playable conditions.
There are holes small and large on the ballfields and pretty much all over this park. Yesterday’s torrential rain didn’t help the situation but athletes who use this field say it’s not just when it rains.
“When it’s not raining, on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being Central Park conditions which are usually almost perfect, we’re about a 2,” said Franco.
“We play in all conditions they try their best to rake the field but sometimes it’s not safe you can be running around you can be trying to get a ball and you could slip and get hurt,” said Jennifer Munoz, a softball player. “Most of the time it’s like this, the fields don’t drain very well. So it could rain five days ago and would still be like this.”
We reached out to the NYC Parks Dept. They tell PIX11 they’ve secured $6 million from the de Blasio administration to renovate the three ballfields. After a public meeting two weeks ago, the design process just began and that typically takes a year. But on top of that, it will be another nine months before construction can begin. This community says they need a fix now.
“I want a couple of days spent taking care of these craters out here just having the infield smooth out and I would like ventilation put into our light shed and having public access to all the big bathrooms on the inside rather than the nasty ones on the outside,” said Kevin Dailey.
Dailey and his Brooklyn Kickball team have been playing here for 15 years. He’s seen the conditions deteriorate.
“We’re used to doing basic maintenance but when you have a bowl-shaped crater you’re taking 6 hours to squeegee out, that’s a little much to ask of anybody,” said Dailey.
“This is greatest neighborhood in the world and it’s a shame we have the worst field conditions in the city,” added Franco.